Firefighters Not Immediately Entitled To Step Increases Upon Promotion To Paramedic

When the City of Concord, New Hampshire stopped providing step increases for firefighters who became paramedics within one year after they assumed those positions, Local 1045 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the City’s decision in arbitration. An arbitrator upheld the City’s decision.

The Arbitrator concluded that the contract was ambiguous on the issue as to whether step increases would be immediately required. As a result, the Arbitrator turned to “extrinsic evidence” to help him in interpreting and applying the contract. The Arbitrator cited a ten-year past practice of supporting the City’s position and concluded that it was incumbent upon Local 1045 to bargain for a change in the past practice.

City of Concord, New Hampshire and IAFF, Local 1045, LAIG 6395 (Higgins, 2006).

This article appears in the January 2007 issue